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Friday, August 31, 2012

Counting on Fall, written by Lizann Flatt and illustrated by Ashley Barron. Owlkids Books, 2012. $14.95 ages 5 and up

"If honk-honking geese
kept to groups ten apiece,
what a sight they would
make at the lake.

Can you see several ways
to make up to ten?
Can you think of other ways
to make ten?"

This is the first book in a planned four book series. Math in Nature  will be concerned with each of the four seasons and numbers in nature. The author begins with a question for our consideration:

"Do you think that math matters to the animals and plants?
What if nature knew numbers like you?"

She then takes her young audience on fall walk that encourages them to see numbers in nature and to consider how the animals might feel if they knew what we know about math concepts:

"What number of nuts would the squirrels stash away?
Would they keep count? Would they keep score?
Imagine them comparing the size of their stores.
Can you count each squirrel's acorns?" 

As autumn bears down on us, despite the late August heat, the author will have readers looking at the signs that signal winter's approach. Leaves are falling, squirrels storing winter food, bears are packing on pounds in preparation for a long sleep, whales are migrating to warmer waters, geese are gathering for their long flight, and on it goes.

Children will not only be exposed to concepts in math, such as estimation, counting by fives and tens, counting backwards, comparison, and other math concepts, they are made aware of animals as they use autumn's bounty to help them prepare for the change that is to come.

The collage illustrations are detailed and attractive. They are sure to catch the attention of the reader and encourage exploration. Warm colors, charming images of numerous birds and animals (some familiar, some not so) make this an appealing read. The "Nature's Notes" section is beneficial, adding descriptions for animals and plants included.

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